13

Using KDE here, but there might be a solution that works with other desktops environments too. I often am dealing with many many windows. Most windows contain many tabs (e.g. a Dolphin window with many tabs, or Firefox, Konsole, etc). The window title will change based on my current tab (which for the most part is helpful most of the time), but when working with so many windows I'd like to organize them a bit and be able to manually re-name the window, overriding the the window title that the application gives. I might name one Firefox window "Research" and other Firefox window "Documentation" to be able to easily distinguish between the windows that I've used to organize and group different tabs accordingly.

Ideally I'd be able to click on a window title bar and easily give it a custom name, but I'd settle for a solution that's slightly more cumbersome as long as it works.

I've tried wmctrl -r :SELECT: -T "Research" but that only works temporarily (the title is reverted when the application changes it, for example when switching tabs).

  • Native KDE apps do have a --caption command-line option that lets you set the window title, but I don't think that's quite what you're looking for. – David Z Oct 13 '11 at 17:55
  • @SeanMadsen Heya, do you still need this? Cuz if you do, I'd love to know if you can get my script to work for you. ^^; – Owen_R Jun 16 '15 at 23:29
  • Thank you @Owen_R Your script worked, and I added a repo for it on GitHub. – Sean Colsen Apr 7 '17 at 17:50
  • @SeanMadsen ha, I'm happy to hear someone else finally got some use out of my answer! Although the funny thing is that I myself don't use that fish script anymore; I rewrote it in ruby a while ago. I realistically aint gonna get around to putting it on github anytime soon myself, though, so I just edited it on to the end of my answer if you want it. – Owen_R Apr 8 '17 at 5:11
3

I had this exact same problem.

So I wrote a shell script that I bound to a hotkey.

When I hit the hotkey, it gets the window id of the currently active window (the one that has focus).

Then it gives you a popup dialog where you enter the title you want that window to have.

Then every time that window changes its name, it changes it back to the title you want.

To use the script, you need:

  • the fish shell
    (I wrote it in fish rather than bash cuz bash gives me a headache)

  • kdialog

  • some way to bind the script to a hotkey
    (I use xbindkeys, cuz all I had to do to get it to work was add:

"[PATH TO SCRIPT]/[NAME OF SCRIPT]" Mod4 + t

(that is, window key + t)
to my /home/o1/.xbindkeysrc)

Thanks to this dude, who gave me the info on the magic xprop stuff.

(Like, a year ago, and then I never got around to writing the script til today. xD )

P.S. If any newbie finds this answer and doesn't know how to use it, just ask me and I'll walk you through it. ^^

EDIT: I updated it so that you can use it from the command line with the switches -t for title_i_want and -w for window_id.

Here's the script:

#!/usr/local/bin/fish

# this block is so you can use it from the command line with -t and -w
if test "$argv" != "" -a (math (count $argv)%2 == 0)
    for i in (seq 1 (count $argv))
        if test $argv[$i] = '-t'
            set title_i_want $argv[(math 1 + $i)]
        else if test $argv[$i] = '-w'
            set window_id $argv[(math 1 + $i)]
        end
    end
    if not test $window_id
        echo "YOU DIDN'T ENTER A `window_id` WITH `-w`,
SO MAKE SURE THE WINDOW YOU WANT HAS FOCUS
TWO SECONDS FROM NOW!"
        sleep 2
    end
end

# get the id of the currently focused window
if not test $window_id
    set window_id (xprop -root _NET_ACTIVE_WINDOW | grep -P -o "0x\w+")
end

# get the title to force on that window

if not test $title_i_want
    set title_i_want (kdialog --title "entitled" --inputbox "type the title you want and hit enter.
to stop renaming,
just enter nothing and hit esc")
end

# this bit is needed for a kludge that allows window renaming
set has_renamed_before "FALSE"
set interrupt_message "WAIT WAIT I WANT A TURN BLOO BLOO BLEE BLUH BLOO" # hopefully i never want to actually use that as a title xD
xprop -f _NET_WM_NAME 8u -set _NET_WM_NAME $interrupt_message -id $window_id

# take the output of xprop
# pipe it into a while loop
# everytime it outputs a new line
# stuff it into a variable named "current_title"
xprop -spy _NET_WM_NAME -id $window_id | while read current_title

    # cut off extraneous not-the-title bits of that string
    set current_title (echo $current_title | grep -P -o '(?<=_NET_WM_NAME\(UTF8_STRING\) = ").*(?="\z)')

    # if the current title is the interrupt message
    # AND
    # this script has renamed the window at least once before
    # then we wanna let the new name take over
    if test $current_title = $interrupt_message -a $has_renamed_before = "TRUE"
        exit
    # if title_i_want is an empty string, exit
    else if test $title_i_want = ""
        xprop -f _NET_WM_NAME 8u -set _NET_WM_NAME "WIDNOW WILL START RENAMING ITSELF AS NORMAL" -id $window_id
        exit
    # otherwise just change the title to what i want
    else if test $current_title != $title_i_want
        xprop -f _NET_WM_NAME 8u -set _NET_WM_NAME "$title_i_want" -id $window_id
        set has_renamed_before "TRUE"
    end
end

EDIT: I actually don't use this Fish script anymore;
I rewrote it in Ruby:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

require 'trollop'
opts = Trollop.options do
                        opt :title_i_want,  "title_i_want",     default: ""
                        opt :bluh,          "write to bluh",    default: nil
                        opt :copy_title,    "copy_title",       default: nil
# TODO - AUTO OPTION                                            
                        opt :auto,          "auto",             default: nil
end

title_i_want    = opts[:title_i_want]


def get_current_wid
    `xprop -root _NET_ACTIVE_WINDOW`[/0x\w+/]
end

def with_current_title wid, &block
    IO.popen("xprop -spy _NET_WM_NAME _NET_WM_ICON_NAME -id #{wid}") do |io|
        loop do
            line = io.gets
            exit if line.nil?
            line = line.strip
            # cut off extraneous not-the-title bits of that string
            current_title = line[/(?:_NET_WM_(?:ICON_)?NAME\(UTF8_STRING\) = ")(.*)("$)/, 1]

            block.call current_title unless current_title.nil?
        end
    end
end
def get_current_title wid
    IO.popen("xprop _NET_WM_NAME _NET_WM_ICON_NAME -id #{wid}") do |io|
            line = io.gets.strip
            # cut off extraneous not-the-title bits of that string
            current_title = line[/(?:_NET_WM_(?:ICON_)?NAME\(UTF8_STRING\) = ")(.*)("$)/, 1]

            return current_title unless current_title.nil?
    end
end

if opts[:copy_title]
    # require "muflax"
    p 1
    wid = get_current_wid
    `echo -n '#{get_current_title wid}(WID: #{wid})'|xclip -selection c`
    exit
end
if opts[:bluh]
    require "muflax"
    loop do
        # p 1   #db
        wid = get_current_wid
        # p 2   #db
        File.open "bluh", "a+" do |f| f.puts get_current_title wid end
        while wid == get_current_wid
            # puts "..."    #db
            sleep 1
        end
    end
    exit
end

#> 1A - from terminal - give title_i_want
if not title_i_want.empty?
#> 1A.1 - get current wid - assume it's the terminal_wid
    terminal_wid = get_current_wid
#> 1A.2 - wait for wid to change
    while get_current_wid == terminal_wid
        puts "focus the window you want to title «#{title_i_want}»..."
        sleep 1
    end
#> 1A.3 - set new wid to target TWID
    TWID = get_current_wid

#> 1B - from hotkey (or just sleeping) - no give title_i_want
else
#> 1B.1 - set current wid to target TWID
    TWID = get_current_wid
#> 1B.2 - get title_i_want (with kdialog)
#> 1B.2.1 - default to current title
    with_current_title TWID do |current_title|
        # v :current_title  #db
        default_title = current_title

        sublime_match = /
            (?<beginning>.*?)                                   # beginning might be...
                                                                #           path
                                                                #           untitled, find results, other useless junk
                                                                #           𝌆 dired
            (?<dirty>\s•)?                                      # dirty?
            (?:\s\(\.?(?<projname>[^()]*)\))?                   # project name, preceded by "." (i name them that way), and in rkaks (sublime does that)
                                                                # or, sans dot, it's the dir, if the window was opened as a dir
            (?<issub>\s-\sSublime\sText\s2\s\(UNREGISTERED\))   # garbage at the end that marks it as a sublime window
        /x =~ current_title

        #if it's a sublime window...
        if sublime_match
            dummy = beginning.split("/")
            if dummy.length > 1
                taildir = dummy[-2]
            end
            /𝌆 (?<direddir>.*)/ =~ beginning

            default_title =
            if      projname    ;   projname
            elsif   taildir     ;   taildir
            elsif   direddir    ;   direddir
            else                ;   beginning
            end
        end

        if opts[:auto]
            title_i_want = default_title
        else
            title_i_want = `kdialog --title "entitled" --inputbox "type the title you want and hit enter.\nto stop renaming,\njust enter nothing and hit esc" '#{default_title}'`.chomp
        end
        break
    end
end


# v :terminal_wid   #db
# v :TWID           #db
# v :ARGV           #db
# v :title_i_want   #db


def set_title wid, title
    `xprop  -f _NET_WM_NAME 8u      -set _NET_WM_NAME       "#{title}"  -id #{wid}`
    `xprop  -f _NET_WM_ICON_NAME 8u -set _NET_WM_ICON_NAME  "#{title}"  -id #{wid}`
end


#> 2 - apply title to TWID
#> 2.1 - allow de-naming
#> 2.2 - allow renaming

# this bit is needed for a kludge that allows window renaming
has_renamed_before  = false
interrupt_message   = "WAIT WAIT I WANT A TURN BLOO BLOO BLEE BLUH BLOO" # hopefully i never want to actually use that as a title xD
`xprop -f _NET_WM_NAME 8u -set _NET_WM_NAME '#{interrupt_message}' -id #{TWID}`

with_current_title TWID do |current_title|

    # if title_i_want is an empty string, exit
    if title_i_want.empty?
        # p 1   #db
        set_title TWID, "WINDOW WILL START RENAMING ITSELF AS NORMAL"
        exit

    # if the current title is the interrupt message
    # AND
    # this script has renamed the window at least once before
    # then we wanna let the new name take over
    elsif current_title == interrupt_message and has_renamed_before
        # p 2   #db
        exit


    # otherwise just change the title to what i want
    elsif current_title != title_i_want
        # p 3   #db
        set_title TWID, title_i_want
        has_renamed_before = true
    end
end
2

What you're looking for sounds like a window tagging facility. I doubt KDE has support for this, other WMs (like XMonad or DWM etc) do.

Thus one possibility to achieve this productivity boost would be to trade kwin in for XMonad and configure XMonad to do tagging. The XMonad tagging mechanism as described in the second link would be to bind a key combination to open a prompt that let's you tag the focused window. (XMonad's config is actually a Haskell-program, so don't hesitate to ask for help in #xmonad.

Edit: While I'd advise everyone to at least try a tiling WM some time, I forgot to point out that while XMonad is commonly referred to as a tiling WM, there is a "simple float"-mode. There surely are other WMs that support tagging and non-tiling layouts, but I don't know about their interoperability with KDE.

1

Since there is no way to set the window title to write protect there will be no solution to that problem, since many programs reset their title upon different actions as you already have discovered.

But maybe a nice suggestion for the KDE and Gnome people ;-)

0

I was looking for the same thing and for the same reason. Ended up spending too much time on this, with this 70 line script.

How does it work?

  • start the script
  • click the window you want to set a title
  • and enter the title you want

Then it will start a loop in the background, check every 3 seconds, and set the title if it changes.

Warning: don't run twice on same window, script isn't perfect.

example script name:sticky-title

#!/bin/bash


# stop all instance of this script if "killall" provided as first argument
if [ "$1" == "killall" ]; then
  scriptname=$(basename "$0")
  pattern="[0-9]* /bin/bash .*$scriptname$"
  pids=$(ps ax -o pid,cmd | grep -P "$pattern" | sed 's/^ *//;s/ *$//' | grep -Pv ' grep|killall$' | cut -d" " -f1)
  if [ "$pids" != "" ]; then
    kill -TERM $pids
    echo "$(echo '$pids' | wc -l) instances stopped"
  else
    echo "None found to stop"
  fi
  exit 0
fi

# ask for window
echo -en "\nClick the window you want to set its title "
id=$(printf %i $(xwininfo | grep 'Window id' | cut -d" " -f4))

# fail if no window id
if [ "$id" == "" ]; then
  echo 'Error: Window id not found'
  exit 1
else
  echo "- Got it"
fi

# ask for title
read -e -p "Enter target title: " title

# fail if no title
if [ "$title" == "" ]; then
  echo "Error: No title to set"
  exit 1
fi

# define loop as a function, so we can run it in background
windowByIdSetStickyTitle() {
  local id title curr_title
  id="$1"
  title="$2"

  while true; do
    # get current title
    curr_title="$(xdotool getwindowname $id 2>/dev/null)"

    # exit if we can't find window anymore
    if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
      echo "Window id does not exist anymore"
      break
    fi

    # update title if changed
    if [ "$curr_title" != "$title" ]; then
      xdotool set_window --name "$title" $id
    fi

    # needed else you will eat up a significant amount of cpu
    sleep 3
  done
}

# infinite loop
windowByIdSetStickyTitle $id "$title" &


# done
echo "Sticky title set"
exit 0

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